Fibromyalgia and the Brain.

I have had fibromyalgia for 25 years. I have fiddled with my eating habits for a long time in order to find foods that make me feel worse and then eliminate them from my diet. I have found a low-histamine diet works best.

I came across some interesting information about fibromyalgia and the brain:

Fibromyalgia Pain Linked with Glutamate and Histamine – Wellness Resources

(What I have copied and pasted below is just a part of what is discussed on the site above.)

Two neurochemical compounds altered in fibromyalgia amongst others include the excitatory neurotransmitters glutamate and histamine. A significant study pertaining to fibromyalgia and the neurotransmitter glutamate was just released in the Clinical Journal of Pain in October 2017. In this systematic review, it was confirmed that elevated levels of glutamate are present in several regions in the brain (posterior cingulate gyrus, posterior insula, ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, and amygdala). High glutamate levels were also associated with amplified fibromyalgia symptoms. Those who follow fibromyalgia research may not find this completely new, but the review study confirms just how big of a concern it is. This makes management of elevated glutamate critical for fibromyalgia management.

Glutamate is a powerful excitatory neurotransmitter that is released in the brain by nerve cells and is necessary in small amounts for brain function with learning and memory. However, excess glutamate damages nerve cells. This occurs either because too much is produced or nerve cells are overly sensitized to “normal” amounts. Too much glutamate exposure leads to high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and provokes oxidative, inflammatory stress to the brain. Symptoms of excess glutamate may lead to increased pain, anxiety, restlessness, sleep disturbance, depression, restless legs syndrome, increased itching, poor focus, and other decreased cognitive skills.

There are many reasons for too much glutamate in the brain. Elevated glutamate may result from neurodegenerative diseases, concussions/traumatic brain injuries, stroke, hypoglycemia, and noise stressChronic, sustained stress is another reason for elevated glutamate as the stress hormone cortisol triggers a release of glutamate in the brain. Stress refers to anything (physical, mental, or emotional) that upsets the body’s normal homeostatic balance.

Elevated thyroid hormone levels, like chronically elevated cortisol, may raise blood glutamate levels. Elevated blood glutamate levels may be problematic for the brain if the blood brain barrier is dysfunctional and leaky.

Elevated Histamine Levels:

Histamine, like glutamate, is another excitatory neurotransmitter that is also released by stress and is elevated in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis patients. Histamine is involved with the immune system, skin, and digestive tract, but it plays a major role with wakefulness, blood pressure, satiety, and numerous other brain functions.

The brain and body contains histamine in immune cells called mast cells. Mast cells release histamine in response to various signals, like an allergen or other immune stressors. A major storage site of mast cells in the brain exists in the thalamus, which is located next to the hypothalamus. This region is the sleep-wake center of the brain.

When mast cells release high levels of histamine in the brain, it signals the hypothalamus which leads to wakefulness, disrupted sleep or insomnia. The release of histamine within the thalamus/hypothalamus is thought to lead to impaired sleep quality seen in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Histamine release also perpetuates central sensitization or chronic widespread pain as histamine releases substance P and glutamate that causes oxidative stress, wind-up, and chronic tissue irritation.

Some individuals do not process histamine well because of the DAO gene variants. Others may have a diet high in histamine foods that the body cannot handle in significant amounts. Sources of histamine in the diet include fermented beverages and foods like wine, champagne, beer, kombucha, kefir, vinegar, yogurt, cured meats, and vinegar containing foods.

Mast cells are also highly abundant in the skin, which is why histamine release in the skin creates itching. Fibromyalgia patients have been found to have 5-14 times more histamine in their skin than others. Mast cells in the skin provide an immune defense in the skin against outside pathogens.

(You can read about Glutamate here.)  What Is Glutamate? Roles, Benefits, Foods and Side Effects – Dr. Axe

(You can read about DAO here)  Diamine Oxidase (DAO): Benefits, Dosage, and Safety (

I hope this information will help someone with fibromyalgia. I have found that digestive enzymes (DAO) help me as does antihistamines and cold pills.

Coping with Fibromyalgia. A Personal Journey.

(I have to update this post since I forgot to write about what pills I take to help me feel stronger. Once, when I had a bad cold, I took a cold medicine and noticed it also helped my fibromyalgia. I began to take one every day and yes, it helped a lot to give me strength in place of exhaustion. Then I found out about my allergies, so now I take Benedryl Total Extra Strength. I take one in the morning and one in the evening. I can feel the benefits within 1/2 hour. I also take Vit B12, because it works to take the numbness from my legs. I’m also on an anti-depressant, which they say is supposed to help.)

I got fibromyalgia when I was 45 years old. I was in a car crash and got whiplash. The first time I noticed my body was different was when I went to pick strawberries in an open field. I grabbed a bucket, bent down and began to pick. The pain through my body was terrible. I couldn’t stay bent for more than a few seconds. It was also painful to try to stand up. I had to take back the bucket and leave.

I started to have pain in my neck, shoulders, arms and legs. The pain would be in one area and then jump to another area. I started feeling exhausted all the time.

Then I noticed my legs and feet would swell up. I would wake up with my hands bent like claws and have to push my fingers outward. I couldn’t open them up by themselves. I went to the doctor and he suspected MS, which is pretty scary. It wasn’t MS, it was fibromyalgia. Nothing to do but take ibuprophen, he said.

I did that, but then I went to a naturopath. I especially wanted her to do something about my swollen legs. She told me about a book called, “Eat Right for Your Blood Type, by Dr. Peter J. D’ Adamo. She said I could be sensitive to food. I bought it and read it. As soon as I started following the diet I felt better. Also, I had to give up Diet Coke. Drinking no Diet Coke stopped my legs from being so swollen, but my legs would still go numb and so would my toes. If I ate one thing not on the diet, I got sick.

I followed that diet for years, especially not eating any bread except Spelt bread. Then I decided to try acupuncture. The treatments really helped my legs and feet; I didn’t have any more trouble with them swelling any longer. Then I read about NAET:

NAET® was discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad’s in November 1983. NAET® is an innovative, non-invasive, drug free, natural solution that may alleviate sensitivities of all types and intensities. NAET® utilizes a blend of selected energy balancing, testing, and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathic, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.

One sensitivity is treated at a time with NAET®. If you are not severely immune deficient, you may need just one session for a sensitivity. A person with mild to moderate amount of sensitivities may take about 15-20 office visits to desensitize 15-20 food and environmental substances.

I couldn’t afford the treatments, so my sister paid for a lot of them. They were working, but the cost was just too high and I stopped going. However, I did understand what they were doing. They found out what foods I was sensitive to and I would hold a vial with its essence in it while they did the acupuncture.

When I went back to my acupuncturist, I took food with me that made me sick. One was cheese and one was soda pop since I missed it so much. I wish I hadn’t done the pop. Lol  Anyway, I could eat those foods and still can all these years later. The treatments really do work.

About 2 years ago, my sister was reading online how all food has histamines in them. We both started a low-histamine diet. Both of us got better within a few weeks. So, that’s what I’m doing now. I’ve been thinking about going back to NAET because it was working so well. I think we are covered for a lot of sessions by my husband’s work. I’m just tired of the whole thing and feel tolerably well, so I don’t want to bother.

I hope this helps some people who have fibromyalgis. It is a horrible affliction when you don’t know how to  get better. Doctors just give pills, but there are healthier ways to feel better. Most of the time I am not in pain. I am tired a lot. If I do too much work at one time, I am exhausted. But I’m still much better than I was.

I’m going to give you a list of foods that make my fibromyalgia worsen:

Diet anything. No aspartame, no artificial sweetener at all.


Fruit juices/Smoothies

Anything with yeast in it, especially any bread.

I do eat thin crust pizza. I get tired, but not pain.

I can have things like perogies made with flour but no yeast.

Chocolate. I know, I know. It is very sad. It is one of my worst triggers.


Spices – any kind.

Too much salt.

Additives and preservatives.

Packaged food.

Eat only Delicious Apples

Anything pickled.

Any kind of tea. Absolutely awful for me. They are made from leaves. High in histamines.

Even though nuts are high in histamines, they don’t seem to bother me if they are roasted. I can eat peanut butter too.

Well, everyone’s body is different. My set of triggers may not be your set. It is very easy to find out what foods you are sensitive to. Any naturopath can test you for this in one visit. If you don’t have enough money to go, then you can hold the food in both your hands, close your eyes and see if you begin to fall forward, backward or stay upright easily. The foods that push you backwards are the foods to avoid.